The Fall of Toulon
The Royal Navy and the Royalist Last Stand Against the French Revolution
The British-led attempt to overthrow the French revolution is a cautionary tale for all attempts at 'regime change'. In the summer of 1793 the surviving French Royalists surrendered the great naval base at Toulon to the British, intending this to be the springboard for a full-scale... read more counter-revolution. A multi-national taskforce led by the British, but including Spanish, Austrian and Italian forces landed in the city. But the Royalists' hopes were dashed: the revolutionaries reacted with great speed and violence. Instead of striking into France the Royalists and their foreign allies are besieged in Toulon. Among the republican forces is a young artillery officer who soon makes a name for himself: Napoleon Bonaparte. The Allied forces botch their withdrawal, a chaotic flight that made the last days of Saigon look orderly. Only a fraction of the Royalists escape with the ships, thousands are massacred in the fall of the city or face the guillotine afterwards. Bernard Ireland's popular and accessible account of the fall of Toulon brings to life a savage episode in European history.
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